Regarding the recent letter published in the Missourian, Rep. Chris Kelly is wrong to suggest that state legislators should seek further compromise over Missouri's puppy mills after voters put the issue to rest ("Rational approach needed to fix Prop B," Dec. 27).
Rep. Kelly suggests that the lack of a funding mechanism within Proposition B provides a reason to tamper with the measure. But Prop. B doesn't call for additional spending, and by any objective view will save state dollars.
Prop. B neither alters the Department of Agriculture's existing inspection system nor calls for additional inspections. It sets standards of care so simple (floors must be solid, cages cannot be stacked, etc.) that local sheriffs who respond to complaints about substandard facilities will be able to apply charges on the spot and avoid calling in overextended Agriculture staff experts.
Additionally, under the old law, shoddy facilities were allowed to continue operating despite racking up repeated serious violations, year after year. Under Prop B, the worst offenders will face additional criminal enforcement, and the state will no longer just issue toothless citations over and over again.
Most importantly, as Rep. Kelly states, "It is beyond question that Missouri has a real and serious problem with some irresponsible dog breeders. Further, the General Assembly failed to deal with it... ."
Melody Whitworth is the Columbia representative for Dogs Deserve Better.